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How to Keep Yourself Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Working


Working for yourself is wonderful because you have no boss. It’s also difficult sometimes because… you have no boss! That’s right – you have to be the boss looking over your shoulder making sure you stay on task and aren’t spending all day on Facebook or playing solitaire.

There are lots of ways to motivate yourself and I recommend trying several of them. These are what work for me.

Reward Yourself Well and Often

When you’re feeling sluggish and unmotivated, you just need a better reward to keep yourself going. Give yourself something nice at the end of certain tasks or at the end of your workday. Create a reward system but make sure you stick to it – no cheating!

Take More Breaks

You’re trying to work hard and get things done but ironically what you may need are more breaks. Instead of working in hour-long blocks, cut it down to thirty minutes. When you take your breaks, do something fun to refresh yourself or just sprawl out on the couch. You’ll feel reenergized for that next short burst of productive work.

Keep Your Motivation in Mind

What’s your main motivation for working? For many of us it’s money. It may be the freedom of working for yourself and calling all the shots. It could be some other goal, like a trip somewhere or a retirement abroad. Get something that represents that goal and keep it handy. Put it right by your desk where you’ll see it all the time.

Start Your Day Better

You might find that changing your morning routine makes a huge difference for the rest of the day. They say that the first thing you do each day is the most important. Maybe you need more time to relax and sip coffee before you get started. Try starting your day with something that makes you feel positive and energized.

Focus on the Benefit

One method is to consider what will happen if you DON’T get that task done. But this can cause negativity and make you feel even more stuck. A better way to do it is to envision how it will be if you finish. You’ll have a better evening knowing that you’re caught up and an easier day tomorrow without today’s work to finish.


Instead of pushing yourself toward your daily goal, cut it in half and call it a compromise. Agree with yourself to finish half the work or a certain portion and you can do the rest tomorrow. This gives you the dual benefit of getting some things done but not wearing yourself out.

Give Yourself a Break

Finally, I recommend sometimes just throwing in the towel and telling yourself you did your best. When you don’t feel like working, you don’t work as well and you don’t get as much done. Sometimes it’s better to put it off, just as long as you don’t do this too much.

Toby Russell

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